2015 Gift Guide: Top Gifts for Climbers
Shopping for a gift for a climber can be deceptively difficult. Just ask my family, they’ll tell you how hard it is to find the right gift for me. There’s so much gear out there that looks exactly the same—or, to the non-climber, that just doesn’t make any sense.
As a climber with a serious addiction to gear, I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a wrong choice, either. I’ve therefore compiled a list of gear that any climber, myself included, would be stoked to receive.
Petzl GriGri 2 Belay Device
Go to any crag or climbing gym and you’ll see one these dangling off of just about everyone’s harness, and it’s not because the GriGri2 comes in pretty colors. The Petzl GriGri2 belay device has proven itself as the most-used assisted-braking belay device on the planet, thanks to its extremely durable design, wide range of acceptable rope diameters, and the ability to provide an extremely smooth lowering action. If safety and ease of use aren’t enough to sway you towards gifting a GriGri2, well, its bright colors do look great hanging off of a harness.
Evolv Maverick Crash Pad
Falls are a big part of climbing. When it comes to bouldering, a fall means the climber’s hitting the ground. A crash pad like the Evolv Maverick is an essential to protecting him or her from falling onto rocks or uneven ground that can cause rough injuries like broken bones and sprained joints. Crash pads also make great seats! The Evolve Maverick has a gusseted closure system that eliminates dead spots in the padding, while a ballistic nylon construction holds up to tough abuse. Add in a zipper pocket for small accessories and backpack-style carrying system and the Maverick is ready to keep any boulderer protected.
Metolius Project Board & Metolius Back Board
It’s very important for a climber to keep training through the cold winter months to keep finger and forearm strength up. The Metolius Project Board can be mounted on basement rafters or above a door frame and features a variety of finger pockets in different widths and depths, which work wonders at increasing a climber’s all-important finger strength and endurance. When mounting a hang board to studs above a doorframe, a backboard should be used to stop the project board from pulling out of the wall. The Metolius Back Board is pre-cut and treated, so there’s no need to get the saw out and make your own.
Black Diamond Camalot C4 Package #0.5-3 and Black Diamond Neutrino Rackpack
Ask any trad climber—it’s impossible to have too many cams. Whether your climber has been trad climbing for a while or is just thinking about getting into it, the Black Diamond Camalot C4 #0.5-3 package features five of the iconic C4 Camalot, in a range of sizes that make up the majority of most crags’ “Standard Rack.” Add the Black Diamond Neutrino Rack Pack so each cam has a color-matched carabiner for easier selection of the correct size while climbing.
Mammut Eternity Protect Climbing Rope and Togir Rope Bag
Ropes wear out, and a serious climber who’s out every weekend working on a route may go through a rope each year. The Mammut Eternity Protect 9.8mm rope features a protective treatment that enhances the rope’s abrasion resistance, and its 8-9 UIAA fall rating is about as high as you’ll get with a rope this size. Its 9.8mm diameter is the perfect balance between weight and durability, and all Mammut ropes feature a center mark that enhances safety and peace of mind on rappels and long lead climbs. The Eternity Protect rope comes in two different lengths: 60 or 70 meters. A 60m rope will be a little lighter and long enough for most modern routes, but the extra 10 meters in the 70m models definitely come in handy on bigger, longer climbing routes. It’s always a great idea to keep a rope in a rope bag like the Mammut Togir. It protects the rope and makes it easier to carry to the crag, and an integrated mat helps to keep the rope out of the dirt while climbing.
Metolius Backcountry.com Limited Edition Inferno Quickdraw – 6-Pack
Just like cams, it’s impossible to have too many quickdraws. Whether we’re talking sport or trad climbing, they’re essential gear. They attach the climbing rope to protection in the rock, and are an integral part of the system that catches a climber in the event of a fall. The Metolius Backcounty.com Limited Edition Inferno Quickdraws are an excellent combination of strength and durability, and they sport the Backcountry Goat logo. What’s better than goats? Nothing.
When trad or sport climbing outdoors, a helmet like the Black Diamond Vapor isn’t required, but highly, highly recommended. And it’s not just about the risk to the climber; belayers should also wear helmets to protect themselves from falling rocks and dropped gear. Even a quarter-sized rock can inflict fatal injuries if it hits the belayer from high above. The Vapor helmet features a lightweight and low profile, unobtrusive design with plenty of vents to keep things cool during hot summer days at the crag.
Black Diamond Stubby Haul Bag
Speaking from experience, carrying a rack of cams and a rope on a bushwacky approach is wildly frustrating when they are not safely tucked away in a pack to prevent snagging on every single branch or rock. I like the Black Diamond Stubby Haul Bag because its vinyl-laminated nylon construction makes it an incredibly durable and therefore versatile pack. Whether you’re giving this to a bigwall climber who needs a smaller haulbag for single-day ascents, or your climber just needs a solid cragging pack that can fit a rope, rack of cams, shoes, and snacks, the Stubby is an excellent choice.
Yosemite in the Sixties Hardcover Book
For the history buff or bookworm climber, Yosemite in the Sixties is the golden ticket. Chock-full of awe-inspiring Glen Denny photos inspired by Ansel Adams and essays about everything from the consciousness of climbers to the culture in 1960s Yosemite Valley, it provides a glimpse into the history of climbing that will interest and inspire climbers and non-climbers alike.